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Friday, Adar2 8, 5779 / March 15, 2019


This Shabbat we read from two Torahs. In the first we read Parshat Vayikra, beginning the third book of the Torah, Leviticus. From the second Torah we remove from the ark, we read Zachor, which is read every year on the Shabbat before Purim.


Parshat Zachor (Deut. 18:17-19) states, "Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt; how he met you on the way and cut down all the weak trailing behind you while you were weary and exhausted, and he did not fear G-d. Therefore, when the L-rd your G-d will relieve you of all your enemies around you, in the land which the L-rd your G-d gives you as a heritage, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from beneath the heaven.  Do not forget!"


The connection between the reading of Zachor and Purim is because Haman, who tried to destroy the Jewish people, was descended from Amalek.


Why is the nation of Amalek singled out in the Torah when there were many other enemies of the people of Israel?


Our sages explain this with a parable: A tub of water was so hot; everyone was too terrified to get close out of fear of getting burnt.  One person was stupid enough to jump into the water.  Although he got burnt, it diminished everyone's fear and eventually they, too, tried to enter the tub. 


Amalek, like the man who jumped into the hot tub, was the first nation to wage war against the people of Israel after the Exodus. Although they were defeated, the fear of the other nation was gone. All subsequent wars are in a sense a result of Amalek's war. This is why Amalek is singled out.


On the lighter side:During the Second World War, two Jews are riding the N.Y. subway. Chaim is reading the Jewish daily newspaper, The Forward, while Moshe is reading the American Nazi Party anti-Semitic publication. Chaim is beside himself. "Moshe, how dare you, a Jew, read this anti-Semitic paper?" he asked angrily.


"I'll tell you why," replied Moshe.  "What do you read in the Jewish paper each morning?  About the hardships and sufferings our people endure all over the world.  You read about the poverty, misery and humiliation of our people. About pogroms, concentration camps etc.  By the time you get to work you’re distressed and upset.  You’re a nervous wreck. I, on the other hand, read in the Nazi paper, that Jews control the banks, the stock exchanges, the governments etc etc.  By the time I get to work I feel good about the accomplishments of our people and I come to work in a great mood!"



Montrealcandle lighting time: 6:41 / Shabbat ends: 7:46


Mazal Tov & happy birthday to Menachem ben Chaim HaKohen on your birthday

May Hashem bless you and your family with long life, happiness and success in all your endeavors.